René Jansen sheds light on Dutch age verification framework

Chairman of the Dutch gaming authority Kansspelautoriteit, René Jansen, has emphasised that he believes the country’s Remote Gaming Act will be introduced on 1 January 2021 rather than the original target date of 1 July 2020.

Speaking at a Gaming in Holland meeting in Amsterdam, Jansen shed some light on advertising and age verification framework which will come into play, as well as the licensing procedure.

Online gambling operation licences can be applied for as soon as the new law has entered into force, with the market opening up six months later.

Jansen revealed that he is anticipating an influx of applications, with close to 200 potential parties already registering interest. He explained: “We can’t formulate the final licence conditions until all subordinate legislation has been finalised. Subordinate legislation serves to flesh out the details of a new law, which involves elaborating certain aspects, filling in the details, and generally crossing T’s and dotting I’s.

“However, these details are often crucial when formulating licensing conditions. There’s no point in us telling you to do things a certain way now, only to change our minds later on.”

During the event, Jansen offered his views on the licensing procedure, which he said was a “drawn-out national debate ultimately resulted in a thorough, meticulously detailed law”.

The Netherlands will become one of the last EU members to legalise online gambling, and is expected to implement one of the world’s strictest addiction prevention policies.

Information to be provided will include:

  • What efforts are you making to protect players from excessive participation and gambling addiction?
  • What additional measures are you taking to protect the 18-25 age group?
  • What steps have you taken to embed prevention in your operational management and organisational culture?
  • What are you doing to make sure your management staff and employees have sufficient training, knowledge, expertise and skills?

“You will have to demonstrate that all these requirements have been met to qualify for a licence. And let me assure you: we will definitely find out if your measures only exist on paper,” Jansen warns.

Licence applicants will also have to explain the following:

  • How have the various responsibilities been assigned?
  • What measures will you be taking to avoid misleading or aggressive advertising?
  • How will you make sure players are not incentivised to gamble excessively?
  • How will you ensure your advertising does not target vulnerable groups?
  • How will you be applying player bonuses?

Adding again that strict assessments are to be in place and that “we won’t accept situations that merely look good on paper”, Jansen moved on to stress: “When it comes to assessing the reality behind your situation on paper, we won’t be limiting our focus to advertising and addiction prevention.

“For example, we will be evaluating your reliability, your integrity policies, the financial continuity of your business, the separation of player credits, your age verification procedures and so on. We want to know exactly who we’re dealing with before we issue an online gambling license; promises and words alone simply won’t cut it.”

Concluding, one more key difference was highlighted by Jansen: “Unlike the current law, the new Act explicitly grants Ksa the authority to use mystery shopping in the fight against illegal operators. In another crucial new expansion of our powers, Ksa will be granted the authority to issue binding instructions to parties that facilitate illegal online gambling.

“For example, we can demand that payment service providers working on behalf of illegal online gambling sites immediately stop doing so: no pay, no play. At present, we can only politely ask them to stop providing these services.”

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